I am not a huge fan of summer, although this year it has grown on me. I don’t generally take to high temperatures and humidity, rather preferring the crisp coolness of fall and chilly nights in the winter. Spring and summer just never did it for me. There is, however, one part of summer that I spend all year looking forward to. Each year in mid-August, Wrightstown Township hosts The Grange Fair.
Even with all of my traveling, I have never missed a single Grange Fair since moving to Pennsylvania. It is the highlight of my summer, and a great way to close out the warmer months and welcome the Fall. Last year Luis and I took Jack, but he was a little too young to get appropriately excited.
So you can imagine my excitement at taking him and Carolyn this year, when Carolyn would get her first look and Jack would have the capacity to enjoy it. And oh, what fun we had!
We got a weekly parking pass and went a few times. I couldn’t get enough! Thursday I had the pleasure of going with Ally and her Mum.
We walked around the barns looking at all of the sheep, pigs, cows, goats, alpacas(!), chickens, and horses. I’ll say this: being around all of those animals was amazing. I felt a really deep connection to all of these other living things, a feeling I hadn’t ever experienced before. I marveled at their effect- it was really peaceful to touch them and be near them.
I especially loved seeing the pigs. Pigs are such bright and social animals- not to mention adorable!
Jack loooved the animals. We visit the animals on the farms that we buy our produce from, but at the Grange there were so many of them all in one place!
These horses were huge and gorgeous! They were actually really graceful, and I felt sorry that they were confined to those stalls for most of the Fair.
We walked out of the stables and found this boy playing with one of the chickens his family had brought for the Fair. Both he and the chicken were super friendly 🙂
I think Jack was more used to the little brown and white chickens we get our eggs from. He didn’t seem to know what to think until we all started petting her- then he jumped right in. I say this all the time, but I just love watching him discover the wonders of the world around him. I so hope he grows up loving and respecting animals as much as I do.
Sharing the experience with Ally and her Mum was also great. They totally shared my love of the Fair. It also helped having an extra hand to help with Jack and Carolyn, especially since Carolyn was still feeling the effects of Thursday’s vaccine.
She was content to remain in my arms for almost the entire day. Luckily, Ally and her Mum are amazing and successfully engaged Jack whenever I was unable.
Ally even took Jack on a wagon ride! They rode around the Grange fields, and according to Ally, Jack loved it. He was also very well-behaved. Phew!
We spent some time walking around the tents with all the vendors, and of course made a stop at the tractors for Jack.
Every year they have a tractor show, pull, and parade, and I get so excited thinking about how much fun Jack is going to have seeing them each summer. They also had a row of motorized things….they have them every year, various antique machines set up to run. I’m not sure that most of them do much except cough and sputter, but they did have one removing kernels from ears of corn!
After some brief assessing, Jack determined that these, too, fell under the category of “toot toots.” Fair enough.
What I love most about the Grange Fair is the way it appeals to everyone in some way. It is a BIG event in our area- at the farmer’s market on Saturday, I was asked at least three times if I had been/was going to the Fair, and if I had seen this or that, and what the kids thought of the animals. Everyone gets so excited- it’s a real community event, and yes, it’s pretty down-home country-esque, but I challenge anyone to spend some time walking around and not enjoy themselves.
We eventually sat down for some deep-friend anything and fries. I was pretty indulgent this weekend- there was a cart selling fried veggies and thin-sliced eggplant. Vegan fair food! Sold.
Eventually, my Mum joined us and Ally and her Mum headed home. The kids didn’t seem tired, and they certainly weren’t complaining, so I figured we’d capitalize on that and spend a little more time exploring the Fair. We actually would up locating the prize tent for biggest/smallest/best/most bizarre vegetables. I was all over it.
As we were leaving, we passed by the children’s rides. I never even thought about the possibility of Jack going on a carnival ride- I had just assumed he was too little, and I wasn’t sure I trusted him to stay seated. However, he was showing a serious interest, and after some deliberation, I figured…why not?
Oh my gosh. I knew that once he was old enough he would appreciate the thrill of the rides, but I could have never anticipated how much. He waved to everyone, smiled, clapped, and yelled. It was one of the highlights of my life, watching him zoom around absolutely delighted, having the time of his life. I may have cried.
On Friday night, James and I went back to the Fair after the kids fell asleep to hit up the big kid rides 😉 The Round-Up, Pharaoh, and the Hang-Gliders! What a throwback.
I was aching to crash around in one of those little Zipper cars, but there was no way James and I were both fitting. Oh, the woes of excess height!
We made one last family outing to the Fair, along with Maurya and Julius, on Saturday afternoon.
We caught a “meet and greet” with the oxen, which was very interesting. Did you know that the term “oxen” refers to any bovines trained as draft animals? So a dairy cow, if it were trained to pull, could technically be called an ox!
These guys were so sweet- such peaceful animals.
We walked around the cow barns again, because I don’t think I could ever tire of being around cows. Fantasy confession time: I dream of one day having the resources and property to keep animals like cows and chickens and pigs- particularly rescued animals.
Jack and Julius had some guy time while I stopped to feed Carolyn…
…and Jack got in a few more rides before we wrapped it up and said our goodbyes for the year.
The Fair closed down today, and while I had a great time this week, I was sad to see it end. It’s such a short few days, and each year seems better than the last. I remember thinking last year was the BEST because I shared it with Jack and thought about all of the future Grange Fairs we have to look forward to together. This year, not only is Jack older and more engaged, but I also have Carolyn!
When you don’t have any children, the idea of having them can seem so limiting. And it can be, in some ways- but if you’re prepared for it, then you won’t care. Going out to a bar is obviously not a common event, but I’m okay with that. And the things I do now are so much more fun because I get to share them with my children. That is one side of parenting that I didn’t expect: doing things now, with the kids, is more fun than doing them by myself- even something as simple as grocery shopping is transformed into an adventure, and I live for it.
I am already looking forward to next year. This week was the best yet, between the kids and the time spent with my friends and family, I truly didn’t want it to end. This year’s Fair was also slightly introspective for me- a year ago this week, I was in a completely different place in my life. I was working toward my goals, but I definitely wasn’t in a great place emotionally. This year, I feel like I’ve climbed a mountain, and my spirits are soaring. I feel centered and focused. To look back and see the contrast, and to understand the underlying causes, is an eye-opener. Just…WOW. What a difference.
I can’t even begin to imagine what the next year will bring, but something tells me it’s going to be great.